I didn't fight a one thousand-year war for this planet's independence to take orders from the likes of you!
|—Pearl, "Back to the Barn"|
The Rebellion or the "Gem War" is the name given to a major global conflict based on Earth that occurred approximately 5,300 years prior to the events of the series; the conflict, which lasted roughly one thousand years, was fought between the forces of Gem Homeworld and a group of rebels known as the "Crystal Gems".
The war was believed to have been instigated by a Rose Quartz, who, recognizing the value and sanctity of the life existing on Earth, organized and staged a rebellion against Homeworld in an effort to protect it. In reality, Rose Quartz was an identity assumed by Pink Diamond, who orchestrated the rebellion as a means to stop Homeworld's efforts to colonize Earth.
Thousands of years prior to the events of the show, Pink Diamond, who had grown fascinated by the duties of her fellow Diamonds, had begged for a colony of her own. Though it took some time, Blue and Yellow Diamond eventually relented and allowed Pink to colonize her own planet, despite the fact that they believed she wasn't ready.
In "It Could've Been Great", Peridot reveals that the primary goal for the Homeworld Gems was to colonize the Earth in order to take advantage of its rich organic resources to expand the Gem empire. This would be done by making Kindergartens on the planet in order to produce more Gems, but would strip the Earth of its resources while virtually erasing all preexisting life on Earth.
When Pink Diamond realized this, she begged Blue and Yellow Diamond to allow her to stop the colonization process but they told her multiple times to finish what she started. Her pleas to spare the organic life on the planet were only met with the creation of a human zoo. Because they would not let her stop the colonization process, Pink Diamond assumed the identity of Rose Quartz to start a rebellion in hopes of driving Homeworld away from Earth.
Pink Diamond (as Rose Quartz), along with her Pearl, started out the rebellion with small raids. One of these raids, which occured 5,750 years ago, took place while Blue Diamond was holding court. She summoned Sapphire to inform her on the outcome of the Rebellion and had to assign three Ruby guards to protect her, one of which was the future Crystal Gem Ruby.
After Rose and Pearl arrived to attack Blue Diamond's court, Ruby fused with Sapphire by accident to form Garnet for the very first time. After the two rebels fled the scene, Blue Diamond demanded that Ruby be shattered for the incident. Sapphire reacted by grabbing Ruby and jumping out of the arena towards the Earth's surface. Over an unknown period of time, Ruby and Sapphire developed a romantic relationship and fused once again. After running into Rose and Pearl again in a chance encounter, Ruby and Sapphire as Garnet joined the Crystal Gems' rebellion.
According to Pearl, the war lasted approximately 1,000 years. Countless battles were waged all across the Earth during this time. Meanwhile, the Crystal Gems gradually grew to encompass a sizable and diverse number of Gems, enough to effectively fight Homeworld's forces to a standstill for a majority of the conflict.
To oppose them, the Beta Kindergarten was created. However, most of the soldiers that emerged from the Kindergarten came out defective (with the exception of Jasper).
Pink Diamond was allegedly shattered near the end of the Rebellion somewhere in what is presently known as Korea. This was revealed by Eyeball. However, in reality the shattering was staged. Pink Diamond could not convince the other Diamonds to let her abandon the Earth colony and as a result believed that they didn't care about her, so she decided to cut off all ties with the Diamond Authority and Homeworld to live out the rest of her life on Earth with the Crystal Gems. To enact the plan, Pink Diamond had her Pearl shapeshift into her Rose Quartz persona and poof her in front of her entire entourage. She swallowed fake shards to make the shattering more convincing. Before Pink and Pearl enacted the plan however, Pink gave Pearl a stern order that no one could ever find out about what they did. As a result, the truth was hidden from everyone until Pearl showed Steven her memories thousands of years later.
In "Sworn to the Sword", Pearl reveals that some of the first battles for Earth happened at the Ancient Sky Arena. In "Rose's Scabbard", the Crystal Gems visit an ancient Gem Battlefield where Pearl says a battle was fought over 5,000 years ago. Garnet describes that countless Gems were broken in a maelstrom of death and destruction during the fight. Pearl also states in "On the Run" that the Homeworld Gems wanted to do something bad to the Earth, and some Gems, such as herself, Garnet, and Rose Quartz found their proposals unfair to the life already existent on the Earth. They rebelled against them, and the historic battle happened with Rose Quartz leading her armies of Crystal Gems, fighting against the Gem Homeworld.
Furious at the apparent death of Pink Diamond, the remaining Diamonds sought their own extreme measure to end the war once and for all. At some point after Pink was shattered, the Diamonds issued a full-scale evacuation of all Homeworlds Gems from Earth, and, after that was done, they combined their powers to launch one final attack, their intention being to obliterate any and all remaining Crystal Gems left on the planet. Unbeknownst to them, however, the attack instead had the unforeseen effect of corrupting every unprotected Gem. The only known survivors of the attack were Rose Quartz, Pearl, and Garnet (protected by Rose's shield), Bismuth (bubbled), Lapis Lazuli (trapped in a mirror), and Amethyst (still incubating in the Prime Kindergarten).
Greg Universe also appears to have knowledge of the war; he states in "The Return" that during the Rebellion, Rose could only use her shield to save a handful of her closest friends, and that many Gems and people died during the conflict. In the same episode, Jasper also states that she was present during the war, and that she fought against Rose's armies, enough to develop a level of respect for her tactics.
"Serious Steven" is the first episode to show the Gem Battlefield, and the events of the Rebellion are most likely recorded on the walls of the Pyramid Temple, as one can see a carving of Rose fighting against an unknown Gem.
In "Same Old World", Lapis, as she tells Steven her backstory, shows him how, when it became clear there was no hope of stopping the rebellion, the Homeworld Gems remaining on Earth quickly fled the planet by using either the Galaxy Warp or the original colonization ships. She was accidentally left behind in the panic to escape.
In "Monster Reunion", it is revealed the Centipeetle was the captain of a squadron that was sent to Earth together by a Hessonite commander. At the end of the Rebellion, the soldiers were ordered to retreat and a flash of bright light was cast upon the Earth by the Diamonds, which caused the corruption of Gems.
In "Bismuth", it is revealed that Rose told the Crystal Gems that they lost Bismuth at "The Battle of the Ziggurat." In reality, Rose had disagreed with Bismuth's intention to use the Breaking Point, a weapon capable of shattering Gems, against Homeworld, and was ultimately forced to poof and bubble away Bismuth.
Timeline of Events
Over 6,000 Years Ago
- Homeworld declares the Earth as a colony under Pink Diamond's rule, creating many Gem structures and installations, including the Prime Kindergarten and the Moon Base.
Over 5,750 Years Ago
- Pink Diamond, at the suggestion of her Pearl, disguises herself as a Quartz soldier to experience the birth of her first soldiers. During this venture, she begins to take notice of the life around her colony. She gains an immediate fondness for the life on Earth and over time, eventually comes to value it as well.
- Pink realizes if the colonization of Earth continues then the planet and everything on it will die.
- Pink begins pleading with Blue and Yellow Diamond to allow her to abandon the colonization effort and leave Earth alone, a discussion she would continue to have with them for several hundred years.
- In response to Pink's pleas to let the human race live, Blue Diamond constructs an orbital station and places several humans inside. This was done as a means of being able to preserve human life after the colonization of Earth had been completed and all organic life on the planet had been exterminated.
- As time goes on, believing all life is precious and that the other Diamonds did not respect or care about her enough to listen to her, Pink decides to create an alter ego with her Quartz disguise, later becoming known as Rose Quartz, and rebels against her own kind. Destroying an injector in the Prime Kindergarten, she calls upon her fellow Gems to assist her, forming the Crystal Gems with her Pearl to scare the Homeworld Gems off the planet. This action signifies the start of the Rebellion.
- Yellow Diamond and Blue Diamond come to help Homeworld suppress the rebel forces.
- Blue Diamond establishes her court on the Cloud Arena with the singular goal of putting an end to Rose's rebellion. She summons Sapphire in order to learn what will happen next regarding the rebels.
- Sapphire arrives with three Ruby guards and informs Blue Diamond that the rebels will attack the Cloud Arena, but will be captured and the rebellion will end.
- Rose Quartz and Pearl lead a direct attack on the Cloud Arena as predicted, but one of Sapphire's Ruby guards changes the future by saving her; she was supposed to be poofed. Instead, Ruby and Sapphire accidentally fuse into Garnet.
- Disgusted by the fusion, Blue Diamond and her court close in on Ruby and Sapphire, which allows time for Rose and Pearl to escape unharmed. Ruby is ordered to be shattered by Blue Diamond, but Sapphire saves her and the two escape. Now outcasts, Garnet is formed once again, and she joins Rose's rebellion.
- Completely fascinated about Garnet and the nature of her fusion, as well as Pearl's emerging independence, Pink changes her goal for the war to making Earth a safe haven for Gems who don't fall under Homeworld's ideals.
Over 5,500 Years Ago
- The Crystal Gems amass an army and wage open war against Homeworld. The Rebellion officially begins.
- According to Pearl, some of the first battles of the Rebellion took place in the Ancient Sky Arena.
Over 5,300 Years Ago
- Lapis Lazuli arrives on Earth and is caught up in one of the battles, during which she is poofed by a Gem that resembles Bismuth. Her gem is later found by a Homeworld Gem, who mistakes her for a Crystal Gem; her gem is placed in a mirror to be used as a tool in order to find out more information on the Crystal Gems.
- At some point, Bismuth and Garnet take on battalions of Quartz soldiers together.
- At some point, Bismuth and Pearl enter a Nephrite's drop ship, where Pearl throws her out of the cockpit.
- A battle presumably titled the "Battle of the Ziggurat" occurs at the Strawberry Battlefield, where many Gems were shattered according to Garnet.
- Rose Quartz and Bismuth have a disagreement regarding their ideals, which becomes violent. Rose ultimately bubbles Bismuth and tells the other Crystal Gems that she was lost at the Battle of the Ziggurat.
Over 5,000 Years Ago
- The Beta Kindergarten is constructed in order for Homeworld Gems to quickly get more soldiers on the ground.
- Jasper is produced in the Beta Kindergarten and is able to take out 80 Crystal Gems on her first day of fighting.
- As the Rebellion rages on, it becomes clear that the Diamonds' forces prove to have the advantage on the battlefield. With no end to the war in sight, Rose begins to fear she would soon have no one left to protect.
- After a final, fruitless discussion with Yellow and Blue Diamond on abandoning the Earth to the Crystal Gems, Pink comes to the conclusion that her fellow Diamonds do not care about her nor care what she has to say. She thus devises a plan to fake her assassination at the hands of her alter ego Rose Quartz as a final measure to both cut her ties from Homeworld and end the Rebellion once and for all.
- In Korea, Pink Diamond enacts her plan to fake her shattering, as a message to the other Diamonds, and decides to live on Earth as Rose with the Crystal Gems forever.
- Following the "death" of Pink Diamond, Earth is no longer deemed fit to be a colony. Shifting tactics, Homeworld begins collecting the shattered remains of Crystal Gems and forcing them to fuse together in a series of experiments for a geo-weapon named the Cluster, which is planned to be inserted into the Earth and eventually rip the planet apart inside-out when it forms.
- The Cluster is inserted into the Earth's crust at the Beta Kindergarten.
Over 4,500 Years Ago
- The Diamonds, furious at the death of Pink Diamond, enact their own final measure to end the Rebellion. Homeworld commanders order their troops to begin a mass retreat from the Earth as the Diamonds combined their powers to launch one final attack against the planet, hoping to obliterate every Crystal Gem left on Earth.
- Rose Quartz is able to protect Garnet and Pearl with her shield, but every other Gem exposed to the light became corrupted; while the Crystal Gems were the intended targets, some Homeworld Gems that were left on Earth, such as Nephrite Facet 413, Cabochon 12, were affected by it as well. This event marks the end of the rebellion as a pyrrhic victory for the Crystal Gems.
- The Great Diamond Authority
- Ruby Soldiers
- Unknown Nephrite
- Unknown Homeworld Gems (flashbacks)
- Lapis Lazuli (unintentionally)
- Many Homeworld Gems
- Rose Quartz (secretly Pink Diamond)
- Biggs Jasper
- Crazy Lace
- Tiger's Eye
- Unknown Amethysts
- Cluster Gems (presumably)
- Unknown Crystal Gems
- The material weapons of the Gem warriors, who were destroyed during the Rebellion, were left on the Strawberry Battlefield.
- Although she is a member of the Crystal Gems, Amethyst did not actually take part in the fighting as she was still incubating during the events of the war, and only emerged later, roughly 500 years after the war had ended. 
- While she never experienced the war, Amethyst has said that she wishes she could have been a part of it.
- Greg said that the war ended with Gems and people being destroyed, indicating humans might have fought in the Rebellion or were unfortunate victims of it.
- Pearl confirms that the Crystal Gems used the Wailing Stone during the Rebellion to communicate in "Rose's Room".
- It seems that knowledge of the Rebellion was either restricted, or openly discouraged, on Homeworld; in "Marble Madness", Peridot didn't know that any Gems existed on Earth at all, and clearly didn't understand who the Crystal Gems were supposed to be, and why they were trying to interfere with her activities.
|Cultural||Beach City or Bust • Beach City Underground Wrestling • Beach-a-Palooza • Boardwalk Parade • DelmarvaCon|
|Historical||Corrupting Light • The Rebellion • Israeli-Palestinian conflict|